Your parish may reopen soon, but it won't be the same
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Sometime in the next month or two, you can expect your parish church to reopen. Some already have, and others are waiting for official permission. As you return to your pew, you will notice some differences.
Parishes are re-opening, but with changes.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The SARS CoV-2 (coronavirus) outbreak has changed the world forever. Some changes will be for the better, others for worse. Certainly lives are lost, and still more will be lost in the months ahead. The economic impacts are already severe. And there's little way to know what the political repercussions will be.
At your parish church, things will also change. For one, your parish has certainly suffered a financial impact. This will manifest itself in different ways. Some projects will be delayed or canceled. Others will be launched to help generate revenues. The sharp economic decline will impact your parish similarly. Donations will be fewer and smaller. At the same time, more people will be approaching the parish with requests for help.
While the need for the Sacraments remains the same, how they are administered may change. Social distancing rules may remain in effect for a while, until people are certain the coronavirus is no longer circulating in the community. Communion of both species will probably remain suspended. Priests and Eucharistic ministers may be reluctant to administer communion on the tongue, preferring to place it in your hand instead. Parishioners will sit farther apart in pews.The Holy Water fonts may also remain dry for a time.
The sharing of common items, like missalettes, may be discouraged. Instead, parishioners may be invited to take a personal copy home, or to purchase their own. Note: there are apps for phones and tablets which include the missalette. Catholic Online also features the Daily Readings online.
Sanitation will be more important than ever. Many parishes will add hand sanitizer stations as well as sanitizing wipes. If your parish does not offer these items, you may wish to carry a personal supply to wipe down any common surfaces you touch, such as a shared missalette or hymnal. Be kind to the next person, and please wipe these items after you've used them.
In some parishes, catechism classes have either been suspended or moved online. This may continue in the months ahead. In fact, parishes may find online instruction to be practical and may continue using it for the foreseeable future. Several parishes are already using Catholic Online School to help teach their students.
In time, some of these changes will be rescinded and the Holy Water will return, along with communion of both species, and so on. But for now, let us pray for a quick end to this global crisis, and for a return to our parish communities, which are so important to all of us.
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